The purpose of my project is to increase the amount of support for children dealing with grief due to the death of a loved one. I established three main goals involving the school, community, and the home lives of the children grieving.
The first goal is to increase the amount of support at school for children dealing with grief by the death of a loved on. I gathered up information by conducting a survey of the entire school body. By passing out the survey I was able to see where the need was and how many of the students needed a support group. Out of 541 students, 398 participated in the survey. I have spoken to Mrs. Deborah Robbins, Crockett Middle School Counselor/Assistant Principal, to help me start support groups for students who are grieving. I have set up a support group with the guidance of Mrs. Robbins to help my peers at school. We have had a couple of meetings, which have gone well. Everyone has gotten more comfortable to talk and is feeling better about themselves. I have spoken to Mr. Joe Watson to help me put together a commercial on the 5 stages of grief to be shown during CATV. Since I had been sick for sometime my commercial did not come out very well. Being as bashful as I am, I still talk very quietly. Mr. Watson recommended that I do a podcast only, that way I am not just sitting in front of the camera and talking. I can record my voice and anyone who needs the extra support can download the information. He also stated that the way students pick on other students in Middle School, a podcast would be better, because he did not want the program to be hurt and felt there is a real need for Project H.E.A.L. I will ask CATV (our school’s weekly broadcasting program) to talk about the signs of grief for children. I have all of my copies of brochures at the school for the counselors to distribute to the students who need them. My blog site is printed on the school newsletter website and in the brochures. I have set this up for any of the students who need to talk but do not want to come to the meetings.
Finally, I will publish my book and give a couple copies to each of the libraries in our district. My book is written for Pre-K – 5th graders, but I have had many adults read it. Eventually, I would like to offer the program to other districts in our community. I feel all the children deserve a chance to understand what they are feeling and why. It makes no difference where I go to school, we are all equal and all have feelings. My scrapbook will be uploaded to my blog site to be reviewed by anyone interested.
My second goal is to increase the amount of community support for children dealing with grief by the death of a loved one. I have had to enlist the help of many community members to help me reach my goals. Therefore, I went to Ed and Nancy Catlin, who run a grief ministry program for adults. I also went to Pamela Russell LCSW, LPC, who owns Paris Counseling Center, PA. They agreed there is a large need for a support group for grieving children. Both agreed to come and be guest speakers at the support groups. I have many supporters in the community such as the area churches like Immanuel Baptist Church. Pastor Randall Scott, stated that he would love to be able to support the project in anyway seen fit. He has taken many programs and learned about the different stages of grief. He is also willing to start up a support group in his area of town, to make it easily accessible for the children to attend. He would like to purchase some books to have in his library and give to the children who need the support. Another church that has agreed to help is Faith Presbyterian Church. Pastor John Kelley would like to see the program cover another aspect from the Christian ways. He will open his church for any groups that are needed in the surrounding area. My church, Peace Lutheran Church, is a very small church and does not have the funds to support us financially, but Mrs. Betty stated that I could use the building anytime I needed for support group meeting. Since my Mom has the keys to the church, she does not see any problem. Starrett Funeral Home has opened the doors in a new approach, and Mr. Arvin Starrett has helped me in more ways than I could have ever imagined, like helping me get my book published and having my grief awareness ribbons printed. He has been working on getting the community more involved. He has wanted to start a program like this for several years and never found a way to implement it. He is very pleased to work with me and very head strong in making this happen. Mr. David Hanson, my scout leader, and my Boy Scout Troop 3990 have helped me also. They are always ready to step up when called. Mr. David Hanson has help greatly by monetary donations and participating in the programs I do. Mr. Chuck Pollard and Mr. Hanson are also helping me to work on my speaking skills. Since I am very bashful, my voice is exceedingly quiet. They have set up a time for me to come in every Monday, forty-five minutes before the scout meeting to work with me. Mrs. Pam Christian, who owns the Success Center, helps me correct my grammar and supports my program one hundred percent. I could also not have done my project without our close family friends, Joel and Adrian Casey, both of them have been in the school system for many years and are now retired. Mrs. Casey has taught in the elementary school I attended and has written many plays for students to present. Mr. Casey is a retired school principal and has many years of speaking to the public. They have me come over and share what I have completed and let me practice presenting my project. The Petersen Family, Susan Nash, and Christopher Nash have done every different task ever that has come up. Without the great support and their helping me when I have an event coming up, it would be harder to complete my work. They also let me read my project to them and practice speaking. Jullie – Ann Petersen has come over several times to help me with my pictures, since our first camera stopped working and we needed help to get the pictures off of it. Paris City Council, Lamar County Judge Superville, Lamar County Commissioners have presented me with a proclamation stated that the month of February is to be Project H.E.A.L. month. Kristi Martin who works at Paris Regional Medical Center has given me support by helping me get a booth at Kid Safe Saturday. She gave me a list of people that could help me in this program. She to would like to get a copy of the book for the hospital library. I have received many donations to help out like the Immanuel Baptist Church Adult Class ($50.00), Grief Ministries ($50.00), Wal-mart ($50.00 gift card), Office Max (seven packages of business cards), Hanson Electric ($100.00), and Honda of Paris ($25.00). I had a fundraiser at CiCi Pizza with the help of Brantly Morris, manager, where I made 10% of that evenings’ profit. With out them I would have a hard time being able to support Project H.E.A.L. The Paris News and Local Radio station 107.7 did great publicity for my project and helped express the awareness for children through their time of grief. I have already had an article in The Paris News and am waiting for Mary Madewell make to an appointment to come over and interview me about the importance of Project H.E.A.L. I have had a booth at our community events, like Holiday at Fair Park, and will have more at future events like Kid Safe Saturday. I will make a game for the children in our community to help learn about the different stages of grief. I want to let the community know that this program is available. I will start a podcast that anyone can download. I even plan on publishing my book. It will be available nationwide through the publisher. I will give my book to local churches, funeral homes, hospitals, cancer centers, nursing homes, as well as other interested business in my community. My blog will also help by continuing to update the information that was provided by counselors.
My final goal is to increase the amount of home support for children dealing with grief by the death of a loved. I have distributed informational brochures with websites and hands-on activities on how to deal with grief. I will be creating more informational brochures to give the students a better understanding of their grief. My brochures are easy to understand. If a child can not read the information, their parent can. The activities are also good for adults to share with their children. I know that I can not cure all of their feelings, but at least they can have a sense of knowledge about what they are feeling. I have also given them my blog address on the brochure, so they can write how they feel and link into various sources of information that is convenient for them. My family and neighbors have supported my project through fundraising, donating money, time, and volunteering to assist me with completing my dreams. Through having a booth at Kid Safe Saturday, I will be able to have information for families to use together. I will be placing my scrapbook online and will link it to my blog site for anyone to see the progress of the program and encourage their family to open up about their feelings in their time of grief. When the community gets involved more, I will have all information accessible for the families to find a support group in their area that is convenient for them.